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Our history

1976: Tokyo declaration

In 1976 Dr Tenrei Ota, upon formation of the Japan Euthanasia Society (now the Japan Society for Dying with Dignity), called for an international meeting of existing national right-to-die societies. Japan, Australia, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States were all represented. This first meeting enabled those in attendance to learn from the experience of each other and to obtain a more international perspective on right to die issues.

The attendees formulated the following, best known as the Tokyo Declaration 1976:

Two years later a second international conference was hosted in San Francisco by the US-based Society for the Right to Die.

1980: The founding of the World Federation of Right to Die Societies

The World Federation of Right to Die Societies was founded at the third international conference. This was held in 1980 at Oxford in the United Kingdom, and was hosted by Exit, The Society for the Right to Die with Dignity. At this conference the following resolution was unanimously adopted

  1. That the World Federation of Right to Die Societies be set up:

    To promote
    a) Co-operation and liaison between voluntary euthanasia and right to die societies
    b) The dissemination, possibly by means of an international newsletter, of information and educational material about:
    – Voluntary euthanasia and right to die issues and guidances as to the meaning of terms used.
    – Legislation and court judgements and other matters likely to be of interest to societies.
    c) International conferences on dying and death.

    To give assistance
    where requested in the foundation of similar societies in countries which do not have them.

  1. That all voluntary euthanasia and right to die societies be invited to affiliate with the Federation.

Since its founding, the World Federation has come to include (2013) 51 right to die organisations from 28 countries around the world, and has held nineteen additional international conferences , each hosted by one of the member organisations.

2018: Statutes

During the 2018 Business Meeting of WFRtDS in South Africa, the statutes have been adapted as follows: